After months of frustrating deliberations, and a threat from the White House that President Obama would write his own legislation, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus has finally circulated a draft of a health care bill–one that contains neither a co-op plan nor a public option.
The committee was expected to propose creating a system of privately run, regional, health care co-operatives in lieu of a public option, but Baucus has eschewed even that compromise. According to the New York Times, Baucus’ plan is calculated to win the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). But Snowe supports a public option affixed to a so-called “trigger mechanism,” raising questions about why this plan doesn’t at least propose something along those lines.
But I do wonder whether, if the details are not thought through carefully, you might not end up with a system less effective at driving down costs than driving down the number of Democrats serving in Congress.
This is the first time during this whole process I’ve been scared. For the past few months, I’ve believed that Democrats would create a decent (if not spectacular) bill that would make it easier for Americans to get health insurance and possibly do something about controlling costs, and that the bill would prove to be a major political success in the medium and long terms.
Now, I’m not so sure.